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Dissolvable tobacco: Advocate criticizes R.J. Reynolds for not ending test marketing

Yesterday, Bob Doyle, executive director for the Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, touted a resolution calling for the Colorado Board of Health to oppose test-marketing of dissolvable tobacco products by R.J. Reynolds under names like Camel Orbs. The board supported this notion, but R.J. Reynolds has brushed off the suggestion -- a response that doesn't exactly leave Doyle slack-jawed.

"We're not surprised," Doyle says. "The board of health called for them to suspend the sale of their products until the FDA has an opportunity to review them, but we didn't think that decision would move them. That's why we're calling on the public to join us -- to call on R.J. Reynolds to stop the marketing of this product."

Why? Doyle believes the items are being marketed in stealth fashion to children via candy-like packaging and flavoring. He compares Orbs to nicotine Tic Tacs.

Not so, responds R.J. Reynolds spokesman Richard Smith as quoted in the Denver Post. "Camel Dissolvables are smokeless tobacco products -- they are not candy or mints as some have erroneously described them," he told the paper. "The packaging is child-resistant and is clearly labeled 'dissolvable tobacco.' They are sold alongside other tobacco products, their sale is age-restricted, and they are taxed at the same rate as other smokeless tobacco products."

Doyle has heard such claims before. "Their history has been to reject calls to protect kids," he says. "So it's up to us. We're hoping others around the state will join our cause in getting these products off the shelves." He encourages those interested in adding their voice to the cause to contact him at bdoyle@ctepa.org.

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